Becker Friedman Institute

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The Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange Improves Its Matching Process

The Pennsylvania Adoption Exchange (PAE) helps caseworkers who represent children in Pennsylvania's child welfare system by recommending prospective families for adoption. We describe PAE's operational challenges using caseworker surveys, and analyze child outcomes through a regression analysis of data collected over multiple years. A match recommendation spreadsheet tool implemented by PAE incorporates insights from this analysis and allows PAE managers to better utilize available information. Using a discrete-event simulation of PAE, we justify the value of a statewide adoption network, and demonstrate the importance of generating better information about family preferences for increasing the percentage of children who are successfully adopted. Finally, we detail a series of simple improvements that PAE achieved by collecting more valuable information and aligning incentives for families to provide useful preference information.

Vincent Slaugh, Cornell University
Mustafa Akan
Onur Kesten
M. Utku Ünver
Publication Date: 
March, 2016
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